Welcome to my guide on how to write technobabble! Every post will start with one letter of the alphabet, from A to Z, and cover tips and ideas for all you writers of sci-fi. Whether you’re writing about near-future science fiction, far-flung alien worlds, or historical steampunk adventures filled with advanced technology that never was – these posts are designed to help you write convincing and unique tech for your story!
X is for Xeno
I mentioned the word “xeno” in my P is for Prefixes post. Xeno is originally from an ancient Greek word that means “stranger,” “alien,” or “foreign.” It’s usually used as a prefix to create compound words. For example, the word “xenolith” is used in geology and it refers to any type of rock that is different in type and composition from the surrounding igneous rock.
Xeno is a great word to use in sci-fi because, as a general rule, science fiction of all types deals with things that are “strange,” “foreign,” or “other.” Stories can feature anything from xenophobia (fear of aliens or other cultures) to xenogamy (the cross-pollination of different plants). You can also create your own new words incorporating “xeno” to fit whatever sort of “otherness” or “strangeness” in your story.
Showing the humanity in the alien, or showing the inhumanity in the familiar, is one of the strengths of science fiction. If you want your reader to think about anything that is “other,” then xeno is the way to go.